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The beauty and benefits of birdwatching

Birdwatching is a hobby and has been steading increasing in popularity all over the world.

It requires absolutely nothing to get started and is an environmentally friendly pastime that promotes engagement with and appreciation of nature. You may also be surprised by the numerous health benefits that birdwatching has to offer

Bird watching can be done anytime anywhere no matter what the environment and is open to those of all ages and all abilities. It is a hobby that promotes wellbeing, mindfulness and relaxation as well as offering physical benefits for those who feel a little more adventurous. It can help to improve both physical and mental health and gives us positive boosts in our energy levels, not to mention offering a chance to meet and engage with new people who share a common interest.

So what are the benefits of bird watching and how can we use them to boost our social, physical and mental wellbeing? Read on to find out more.

Appreciate nature

One of the joys of birdwatching is being able to soak up nature while getting vitamin d as it allows us to soak up sunlight and be out in the natural world. Where we can appreciate the beauty of the world around us benefits our health vastly. You don’t have to venture into the wild countryside either – you can enjoy birdwatching from any garden or park, even in the middle of an urban area.

If you are really passionate about nature, you can even participate in important research conservation events such the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch, which takes place every year. This year it was held from 29th to 31st January.

Slow down and build patience

If you are the kind of person who never seems to find the time to slow down and appreciate the moment, birdwatching is well worth a try. By it’s very nature, it requires patience and calm – and this can be hugely beneficial in the hectic modern world – and you will be rewarded for your patience by the beauty of nature.

A gentle approach to fitness

Although the act of birdwatching – often called simply ‘birding’ by those who are already into it,  itself requires little effort, you can also find yourself exploring the countryside as you travel to view different birds in different habitats. This is a great way to get active, especially if sport is not a pursuit that appeals to you. You can set the pace and distance too, so you can enjoy an intense hike or a gentle stroll. Whichever approach you take, this element offers a great opportunity for healthy, cardio-vascular activity while doing something you enjoy.

It’s worth noting that even lifting your binoculars aids in developing our muscles and improves our arm strength which is valued when we are holding equipment. It can also promote shoulder mobility, something that many older people begin to suffer with.

Mental sharpness

Birdwatching encourages you to focus and be present, while also being quiet and still. You don’t need any technological aids, meaning you can use the time to be immersed in a natural environment that also offers visual stimulation.

The process of spotting and identifying different species of birds requires mental sharpness, which strengthens our cognitive skills and boosts memory retention. This makes it a great pastime for all ages.

Relieve stress

It has long been known that spending time with nature is a powerful way to reduce stress levels, and birdwatching is one way to make this part of your self-care routine. Nature therapy can have huge restorative benefits and promotes relaxation, helping to make us healthier, calmer and less prone to physical and mental health issues.

Boost self-esteem

One of the joys of birdwatching is never knowing what you will get to see next, combined with the sense of achievement that comes with spotting and identifying different birds. Every experience brings with it a sense of optimism to it and wonder, and the process is great for boosting self-esteem.

Mindful entertainment

One of the negative aspects of boredom is that it can have adverse effects on our mental health.The same is true for many forms of entertainment, which may not be beneficial to us.

One of the perks of birdwatching is that it is a mindful form of entertainment that requires very little equipment, time or money.

Enjoy family time

Bird watching is an ideal family hobby as it can be done during time spent together, helping to strengthen family bonds. As well as being enjoyable for children, it can help them to learn about nature as well as engaging them in mindful activity.

A community spirit

Although birdwatching can be done solo, it is a wonderful way to make friends as it is a shared interest that can be used to connect and bond with anyone locally or even all over the world.

Social media allows us to be connected via the internet, offering opportunities to meet new friends in birdwatching communities regardless of our differences or our ages. By sharing this hobby with both old and new friends, we can make a benefit to birds too and their conservation and care, which can make us feel connected and less lonely.

Do you enjoy bird watching? We would love for you to share photos to our social media.

Lara Edwards
Community Manager and Editor of Motiv8.Me Woman. A photographer, radio presenter, poet and spoken word performer, Lara recently graduated from university with a joint honours in History & Creative Writing.

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